Spotify now shows number of plays

Posted 15 May 2013 — by
Category Pay outs, Spotify

As of today Spotify shows how many times a song was streamed. Not with every track, just with the most popular tracks on an artist page.

Here is an example:


Interesting stuff! A brand new source of information. Now we can really tell how successful an artist is on Spotify.

I know a lot of you want to know how much this means in terms of money. Rule of thumb: about half a cent per stream.  The track “What makes you beautiful” was played 53,466,073 times. That accounts for $267,330.

Now go and check your favorite artists and calculate how much they make by your listens on Spotify.

How about Mumford & Sons:

mumford & sons

Note: If the artist is signed with a label the money goes to the label. You can only guess what the artist will receive in the end. Major labels probably don’t get payments based on streams but a percentage of Spotify’s revenues equal to their market share, which makes it even more opaque.

More info on Spotify payouts here.

Spotify payouts Q4 2012

Posted 18 Mar 2013 — by
Category Pay outs, Spotify

My Zimbalam statements for Oktober show a nice rate of €0.0051 (about $.0066) for all Spotify streams. In November the rate per stream drops to € 0.0040 ((about $.0052). Nothing really new, the rate has been rather steady over 2012.

71 cent streams?
The December data however are astonishing. All kinds of rates from € 0,0004 to over €0.71!! What? One single stream bringing 71 cents? I contacted another label and it turned out that their statement even shows rates up to even €0.82. What is going on?

I asked Zimbalam to explain the December rates. Their initial answer was that rates had risen because of higher revenues for advertisements in December. Not very likely if you ask me. So I contacted Zimbalam again and pointed them to my ongoing publications on Spotify pay outs. That must have scared the folks at Zimbalam. They even started to threaten my with legal steps if I kept publishing copies of their statements. Why? Transparency obviously is not appreciated in the music industry.

I just repeated my questions and Zimbalam finally agreed to investigate the sudden change in the way streams are paid. It turned out that as of December Spotify pays Zimbalam a rate for ever country and tier. The system we have already seen in Catapult and CB Baby statements. Zimbalam has not adjusted their reporting software yet, so the 71 cent stream is not just one stream, but a set of streams most likely generated by Dutch listeners with a (Premium?) subscription.For those interested, here is a depersonalized version of my latest statement.

Here is the updated graph:


In a few months I will be able to show you more data with much more detail.


Spotify payout Q3 2012 and some extras

Posted 10 Dec 2012 — by
Category Pay outs, Spotify

New data, but nothing really new as far as the Spotify payout rates are concerned. The rate per stream is steady, about $0.005. My royalty statements show $0.0054 in July, $0.0054 in August and $0.0052 in September.

But I do have some interesting extras.

Every stream over 30 seconds gets paid in full

My previous test was rather sloppy. I now recorded all sessions to be able to check the results one on one. Each time I listened to a song for just over 30 seconds, Spotify paid me the full rate of $.0052. None of plays under 30 seconds showed up in my statement. So we have got that figured out once and for all, another piece of the puzzle solved.

Rates of Spotify competitors

My statement shows a few rates (in Euros) from other services.

The king of streams, YouTube pays just 1/10 of the Spotify rate. But rates of 247 TDC Play (Juke) en Deezer are more striking. €.0357 ($.0461) and €.0335 ($.0433) per stream. That’s about eight times higher than the Spotify rates! How can that be explained?

The label Club AC30 was kind enough to let me have a look at their Spotify and Deezer statements. We both use the same aggregator Zimbalam/Believe Digital. This aggregator pays the same amount for every Spotify stream, regardless of the country and the subscription of the user. So a stream by a Free user in the US leads to the same rate as a song streamed by a Premium user in Sweden. The rate only differs every month, because of fluctuations in revenues and number of songs streamed.

To give you a rough example, a simplified calculation:

Revenue September: 30 million dollar.
70% for royalties: 21 million dollar.
Number of streams in September: 500 million.

September payout per stream: $21m/500m = $0.0042

The agreement between Zimbalam and Deezer has a more complicated system of rates. Deezer pays different rates for every country and subscription. These are the rates for France from December 2011 till July 2012:

I have to add that the tiers could be incorrect, it’s still an educated guess. I’m waiting for Zimbalam to explain the tiers. Somehow they seem to have a problem with that. Deezer has a Free tier with 30 second previews and Radio, The Premium is similar to Spotify Unlimited (5 Euro per month). Premium+ is like Spotify Premium (10 Euro per month).

The system of calculating the rates is like the one Spotify uses, but in Deezer’s case the rate is calculated for every individual tier and country. Other aggregators (like CDbaby and Catapult) use this system for Spotify as well.

But the big question is still unanswered: Why can Deezer pay higher rates?

The rate I get from Zimbalam is sort of an average of Free and paid streams. When I look at statements from other aggregators the highest Spotify rate I have seen so far is $0.01700. It’s in a CDbaby statement from July 2012 This must be a Premium stream, so this offers the best comparison.

The Premium+ rates from Deezer is 100% higher: €0.0335 per stream. It cannot be caused by higher revenues. Both tiers (Deezer Premium+ and Spotify Premium) have the same subscription price: €10/$10. That leaves only one option: Deezer Premium+ users somehow stream less songs.

I can only guess why. Deezer Premium+ comes free for customers of Orange, one of the biggest Telcos in France. Maybe these users are not that in to music as customers who pay for Premium themselves?

But there is more than rates alone. Let’s have a look at the streaming revenues of one of the artists of Club AC30 from December 2011 till July 2012

Deezer’s rates may be higher, but mainly because of the free tier Spotify generates way more streams, thus in the end a higher revenue. For now at least. I do realize that there are more factors involved, could be this band is less popular in France for instance. So let’s wait and see how things evolve in the near future.



Your own personal…. Spotify

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Posted 07 Dec 2012 — by
Category Spotify

Music discovery on Spotify gets personal. How?

If you can spare an hour, just watch the video of the press event.

Here are a few highlights:

Spotify will get ‘Follow’, ‘Discover’, and ‘Collection’ tabs.

The Follow tab
Follow all the people who turn you on to the music you care about. Find out what friends and artists are listening to in real time, and check out the music that matters to the trendsetters in your life. Share your soundtrack. Post your playlists on your social networks. You can now see which people are following your profile.

The Discover tab
Spotify’s Discover feed continually seeks out personal recommendations for you.

  • New single and album releases from the artists you follow.
  • All the music and playlists shared by influencers you follow.
  • Recommendations based on the music you listen to – including music, reviews and concerts.

With Audio Preview you can dip into new music without moving away from the song you’re playing. If you like what you hear, you can save it for later or play it right away.

Collection tab
No need to turn albums into playlists. Add albums, songs and playlists to your collection with a single click.

5 million subscribers

Ek also reveiled that Spotify now has 20 million active users. The number of paying users has grown to 5 million. So far Spotify has paid out more than $500m in music royalties since launching in 2008.

Metallica now on Spotify

And maybe the biggest suprise of them all. Metallica’s Lars Ulrich came on stage together with Sean Parker (ex-Napster) to tell that all of its music is now available on Spotify. Some 12 years ago Lars Ulrich raged against Napster. Now he’s on stage with Napster founder Sean Parker. How about that.

That’s what you get: Tribute version Skyfall #34 most streamed song on Spotify

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Posted 29 Nov 2012 — by
Category Spotify

Would you fall for a tribute version of your favorite song? Maybe not you, but millions of others clearly do!

Check your Top Lists in Spotify, set the Tracks List to “everywhere” and look. There it is: a tribute version of Adele’s Skyfall is number 34 in the list of most streams songs worldwide.

That’s what you get when you decide to stay away from Spotify. Someone else cashing in on your success. And we are talking about millions of streams here. At the current pay out rate of $.005 every million of streams is good for $5000. The Let The Sky Fall must be laughing their pants off.

Spotify Has Another Holdout: Rihanna…

Posted 27 Nov 2012 — by
Category Uncategorized

You pay $10 or even €10 a month for Spotify and still labels or artists think they can force us to buy a new release by withholding the album from Spotify. We have seen Adele, Coldplay, The Black Keys, Taylor Swift and now Rihanna has joined the League of Big Name Spotifobics. No sign of her new album Unapologetic on Spotify.

Would you fall for this tactic and buy the album? Well not me. First of all I don’t like her music that much but if I would feel the need to have a listen to her new album, no way I will pay extra for it!

I start up Tomahawk, search for the album and I can play the tracks that are not available on Spotify. This brilliant program is sort of an autocomplete for Spotify. Tomahawk searches for the tracks that are not available on Spotify and replaces these by the results on services like, YouTube and a few more services, even Grooveshark if you have a Grooveshark Anywhere account. Great for missing albums and playlist with tracks that suddenly disappear.

This is what you get:

And if you don’t want to install yet another application. Use the webbased

Time to strike back with a Tomahawk!


How to get access to Spotify’s Web App

Posted 15 Nov 2012 — by
Category Apps, Spotify

First of all I want to thank Thomas Kjemperud for sending me the workaround.

Here’s how to get access:

 Click this link

It wil take you to a page that should load the app, but if that takes to long, click the link as shown in the pic below.

After that you will be able to log in with your Facebook or Spotify account details.

The app looks great and is clearly inspired by the iPad app.

The site works fine but has limited features. Still you will be able to listen to all music, your playlists and Spotify Radio. That should do it for all the places where you can not install the Spotify application.

Remarkable: no commercials en ripping streams is easy

The webversion so far does not have any commercials. Just by accident I discovered that the streams can be ripped real easy using software like Replay Media Catcher. You get the 160kbps MP3 version of any song you play. Spotify had better fix this soon.

One Direction’s album Up All Night pulled from Spotify (updated)

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Posted 28 Oct 2012 — by
Category Spotify

Has Simon Cowell’s label Syco Music decided to remove the Up All Night album of the popular boyband One Direction? Last Saturday One Direction fans started complaining that they could no longer play the album.

Strange, why is this album pulled from Spotify a year after the release? Is this yet another label that thinks it can force people to buy the album by removing it from streaming services or just an error in the database?

So far no further details have emerged. I will update this article as soon as I have found out more.

Update 29-10-2012 10:47

Here is the reply I received from Spotify:

No error in the database, Syco Music actually did pull Up All Night from Spotify in all European countries. Unbelievable, what a shortsighted decision. Pulling an album that was #26 in the list of most streamed albums.

The label Syco Music is owned by Simon Cowell who lobbies for anti-piracy measures. Isn’t pulling albums from Spotify causing the exact opposite?

Update 29-10-2012: 17:20

Spotify has now admitted that it was an error after all. The album is back up.

How both labels and Spotify can benefit from release windows

Posted 24 Oct 2012 — by
Category Spotify

It’s happening again. Adele’s Skyfall is not on Spotify and Taylor Swift’s new album Red will not appear on streaming services until her next album is released, The reason is obvious. Labels and/or artists don’t want to give away the music for free in fear of losing sales. We can argue all we want to try to prove that there is no such thing as cannibalism by releases on streaming services, I don’t think it will change a thing.

Now the album doesn’t show up in your favorite streaming application, thus forcing your fans to sort it out for themselves. And who knows where to go to get it anyway?  iTunes? Yeah right, keep dreaming.
If you want to window a release, fine with me. But why not do it like this:

Make new releases Premium exclusive

Why deprive the 4 million people who are willing to pay $ 10 a month of new releases? That doesn’t make sense to me. These paying customers deserve to be pampered. Why not make new releases Premium exclusive?

Free users: buy the album or upgrade

A Premium exclusive release will make the album visible to Free users as well. How about adding an option to buy the album or upgrade to Premium? This could look like this:

Now a sale or an upgrade to Premium is just one click away. Impulse sales! This system may well drive sales and conversion to Premium. Both labels and Spotify will benefit and Premium users will be properly rewarded for investing $120 a year. Labels happy, Spotify happy, users happy, but how about the artist?

Reward the artist for each Free user who upgrades to Premium

Make the Upgrade button track which album generated the upgrade to Premium and reward the artist with $10 for each conversion. Spotify’s competitor Rdio already does why can’t Spotify?

Everybody happy?


h1tchr – a Spotify App that educates

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Posted 23 Oct 2012 — by
Category Apps

I’m still dreaming of the ultimate Spotify App that shows me the liner notes while listening. Who wrote the song? Who produced this track? Where was this recorded? In what year? Who’s drumming on this track? Back in the days of LPs and CDs no problem at all, all the info was on the cover or in the booklet. Despite all progress streaming services still don’t supply this kind of information, what a shame.

The new Spotify App h1tchr is a step in the right dieection. The apps shows the Wikipedia page of the artist or band and when you are lucky the Credits tab has the liner notes of the album.

h1tchr can be found in the Spotify App Finder. You can open this app by clicking this link.